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iTunes has come a long way over ten versions—that is, unless your aim is to sync music and videos between multiple computers. Apple introduced Home Sharing in an effort to resolve this problem, but that approach doesn’t do much good when a song you want to play is stored on a computer that’s powered down.
Enter SuperSync, a cross-platform application designed to keep iTunes libraries on different computers in your household in sync with one another, regardless of what operating system you’re running. At a glance, you can see which computers on your network are missing music, movies, and TV shows and get them back in sync in a snap.
On first launch, SuperSync scans your iTunes library and displays its data in excruciating detail. Casual users will likely feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of options and data presented. In the Java-based faux-iTunes interface, an often-maddening number of choices become available, and they’ll send first-time users scrambling for the manual to figure out what to do next.
You can access your SuperSync library over the internet from your iPhone, but it’s more complicated than necessary.
Thankfully, the developers offer an easy-to-follow Quick Setup guide (under Help > SuperSync Help) for the most common setup, which is syncing between two iTunes libraries over a home network. After a quick trip to the SuperSync Preferences’ Network tab on both systems, you’ll be able to easily connect to remote computers running SuperSync, and, if you like, activate the option to lock things down with a password.
Once the copies of SuperSync are talking to each other, the Library Sources section in the sidebar shows how many items need to be synced. The largest window of the application shows a list of media, complete with title, artist, album, and more—green tracks are in sync with both systems, while purple tracks are on the remote system only. From here you can listen to tracks or sync them—there’s no need to physically move between computers. Tracks are transferred quickly and easily, including your ratings and play counts. A Transfer Status window keeps you updated on the progress, and once you’ve got your libraries in sync, you can keep them that way by using the Sync button.
Occasionally, SuperSync would throw up an error while synchronizing playlists that worked fine on a second try.
Syncing entire playlists with another computer is a two-step process: First select the desired lists from the Playlists section and click Put to transfer the tracks. Next, select Sync Playlist from the Action menu to get the tracks organized the same way on your second system. Both the tracks and the playlist will now be color-coded green to indicate they’re synced with your source library.
While the actual sync is speedy and accurate, in some cases it’s more cumbersome than necessary. For instance, there’s no way to sync a playlist full of tracks in one click—you have to first sync the tracks and then the playlist itself. Also, Smart Playlists are a no-go—you can copy the tracks, but you’ll have to manually export your Smart Playlists and port them over to the other system(s). It’s easier to simply re-create Smart Playlists on each computer.
Despite its name, SuperSync isn’t all about syncing—the Duplicate Inspector aims to combat duplicate files with more precision than iTunes. And with the program open on your computer, you can also stream media files to any web browser or even an internet-connected iOS device. However, the process is unnecessarily complicated and only applies to music tracks (other types of media show up as blank entries).
Speaking of which, SuperSync is limited strictly to audio and video files (including podcasts, music videos, and iTunes U)—it completely ignores your iOS apps and e-books, so you’ll need to sync those by hand.
The bottom line. SuperSync is a complicated program, but it’s safe and efficient at getting your iTunes library onto another computer and keeping that media in sync. It does a bang-up job—once you get used to its unfriendly interface.
Mac OS 10.1.3 or later
Fast syncing. Color coding makes it easy to see where you stand at a glance. Very reasonable pricing for multiple computers.
Confusing Java-based user interface. Syncing playlists requires two steps. No automated syncing of Smart Playlists. Networked media gets copied locally when syncing which isn’t so good for movies and TV shows. No sync of apps or e-books. Complicated streaming to web browser, limited to music only.